Experience the Enchantment of Lisbon: Best Places to Stay, Things to Do and Places to Dine

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Advisor - Olivia Coflin
Curated By

Olivia Coflin

  • Portugal

  • Lisbon

  • Food & Wine

  • Arts & Culture

  • City Travel

blue-and-pink building
Curator’s statement

If you're looking for a city that combines rich history, stunning architecture and a vibrant local culture, look no further than Lisbon. I fell in love with this city the moment I stepped onto its cobblestoned streets, and I'm excited to share with you some of the best places to stay, things to do and restaurants to try during your visit.

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Where to stay

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Things to do in Lisbon

gray castle tower on the coast

One of the things I love most about Lisbon is the variety of activities. From exploring historic landmarks like the Belem Tower and Castelo de São Jorge to riding on the famous Tram 28, there's always something new to discover.

If you're looking for a unique experience, try a sunset sailing tour on the Tagus River, where you can take in stunning city views from a different perspective. The public transportation system is easy to navigate and can take you anywhere from the famous National Tile Museum to the beautiful beachside town of Caiscais. We had one of the best days of our trip exploring (and eating) around Caiscais.

Another day trip worth taking is a tour of Sintra to see the gorgeous castles, beaches and the most western point in Europe.

Best restaurants in Lisbon

blue-and-white plate with an open fig and bread

Foodies will feel right at home in Lisbon, where the cuisine is a mix of traditional Portuguese dishes and innovative takes on classic favorites. From fresh seafood to traditional pastries, there's something for everyone. Here are some of my absolute favorite restaurants to try on your trip to Lisbon.

Belcanto: For a truly exceptional dining experience, head to Belcanto. This two-Michelin-Star restaurant is run by chef José Avillez and offers a modern take on traditional Portuguese cuisine. The tasting menu is a must-try and features dishes like lobster, suckling pig and almond tart. From start to finish, this was one of the most memorable dining experiences I have ever had.

Mercearia do Século: A hidden gem that blends traditional Portuguese cuisine with modern twists. Housed in a beautifully restored 18th-century building, the restaurant features a locally sourced menu and friendly staff, offering an authentic and memorable dining experience. Make sure you order the mushrooms and bacalhau.

Sucolento: A trendy and welcoming restaurant located in Lisbon's Principe Real neighborhood. Their menu features delicious Portuguese cuisine, including seafood, meat dishes and vegetarian and vegan options. With its contemporary decor and warm atmosphere, Sucolento is a must-visit for anyone looking for an unforgettable dining experience in Lisbon. Still dreaming about their seared tuna sandwich.

Yak and Yeti: An authentic Nepalese restaurant in the historic Alfama neighborhood of Lisbon. This cozy eatery features classic dishes such as momos, curries and tandoori specialties, along with traditional decor and live music. With its warm atmosphere and delicious food, Yak and Yeti is a hidden gem in Lisbon's culinary scene. Some of the best Nepalese food I’ve ever had.

Time Out Market: A foodie's paradise, with dozens of stalls offering everything from traditional Portuguese dishes to international cuisine. The market is housed in a historic building and has a bustling atmosphere. It's a great place to try various dishes and soak up the city's energy. We visited the TOM many times during our stay in Lisbon.

A Cevicheria: A trendy spot that serves up some of the best ceviches in Lisbon. The menu features a variety of ceviche dishes made with fresh fish and creative flavor combinations. The restaurant is small, so be prepared to wait for a table, but it's worth it for the delicious food and stylish atmosphere. Afterward, grab ice cream right next door.

Ponto Final: A hidden gem on the Tagus River's south bank. It's a bit of a journey to get there, but the stunning views of the city and the excellent seafood make it well worth the trip. The menu features classic Portuguese dishes like grilled sardines and octopus salad.

Pastéis de Belém: No trip to Lisbon is complete without trying a traditional pastel de nata, and the best place to do that is at Pasteis de Belem. This famous pastry shop has been in business since 1837 and is known for its delicious, flaky pastries filled with creamy custard. Be prepared for long lines, but trust me, it's more than worth it!

When is the best time to visit Lisbon? What makes Lisbon special?

yellow electronic cable car leading up a cobblestoned street

Best time to visit Lisbon: Lisbon is a year-round destination, but I highly recommend visiting in the spring or fall when the weather is mild and the crowds are smaller. Summer can be hot and busy, while winter can be rainy and chilly. No matter when you visit, you'll find plenty of things to do and see in this incredible city.

Best things about Lisbon: What makes Lisbon so unique? For me, it's the way the city seamlessly blends its rich history with modern innovation. I love wandering through the narrow streets of Alfama and stumbling upon centuries-old churches and hidden courtyards. The food scene is also a major draw, with fresh seafood and delicious pastries around every corner. But what I love most about Lisbon is the warm and welcoming locals, who are always happy to share their city with visitors.

Lisbon is a city that captures the heart and soul of everyone who visits. With its incredible architecture, fascinating history and delicious food, it's a destination that's sure to leave you with memories that will last a lifetime.

Need to Know

This guide is part of our ongoing series on travel to Lisbon.

Advisor - Olivia Coflin

Travel Advisor

Olivia Coflin

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